Return to Miami a big success

Jonathan Vilma returned to his hometown of Miami with the Jets and left with a win.

Updated: October 6, 2004, 3:30 AM ET
By Jonathan Vilma | Special to ESPN.com

Vilma diary
Editor's note: Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the New York Jets, will chronicle his rookie experiences in a weekly diary for ESPN.com.

  • Diary No. 7: Heading home
  • Diary No. 7: Road trip
  • Diary No. 6: First win
  • Diary No. 5: City Championship
  • Diary No. 4: Playing Peyton
  • Diary No. 3: Finally on the field
  • Diary No. 2: Short week of camp
  • Diary No. 1: Ready for camp
  • I swear these games get more and more exciting each week. This week it was the Dolphins and my first start. Talk about coincidence.

    If you listened to my interviews or read any of my comments, I know you were wondering why I didn't sound all that excited to be starting my first game in my hometown of Miami. Believe me, I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. The trick was that I knew during the bye week that I was going to start. That gave me the whole week to sit back and daydream about how lucky, happy, anxious, and everything else I was to be starting my first NFL game. Thank God I got that week to get it all out of my system because those reporters would have eaten me alive.

    So game week came and it was back to cool, calm Jonathan all over again. Practices were fun this week because everybody was messing with me telling me that I'll be scared and that I'm going to forget the calls -- blah blah, yeah right. Come on now, just because I'm making my first start doesn't mean I'm going to lose my head. So of course, I heard that all week from my teammates, plus the onslaught of reporters who were trying their best to work an angle. Good thing I don't read the paper; who knows what they were saying about me in there.

    The game, which we won 17-9, was just what I expected. Being from Miami, I know how many New Yorkers are now calling it home, and they all made sure they came to the game. I couldn't tell if the crowd was for us or against us. I could hear both cheers and booing when we would make a play. The best part was after the game. I heard the crowd with their famous J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets chant and I just had to turn around and join in on it.

    I was glad that my family made it to the game. It made me even happier to see them after the game and look at so many people who are proud of me. Of course my biggest fan, my sister Alice, purposely stayed back so she could watch it on TV and hear all the comments being made about me.

    We're 3-0 and getting better with each game. Sorry if I'm not ecstatic about our record, but I'm used to this coming from Miami. We just want to take this one game at a time.

    ALSO SEE